Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gray Mornings

I woke up feeling depressed this morning. And so far my bible reading doesn't seem to be helping. Check out some of the passages I've stumbled upon:

"Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning." - Jacob responding to Pharaoh's innocent question of how old he is.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which your are going." - The Teacher of Ecclesiastes in one of his more positive moments.

What does God want to teach me when I look to his word for comfort and find passages like these? I don't really know. Some days it's both gray outside and inside for this little human named Philip.

But it helps me to know that God gives us these sentiments in scripture, because they only further illustrate it's authenticity and truth. God knows the bumper-sticker truth that life is hard and then we die. He doesn't tip-toe around this sentiment. He goes right towards it with full vigor.

God knows that life is full of toil and struggle, that we live in a broken-down world where everything isn't OK. He knows we will wake up to gray mornings and troubled spirits. He knows that our dreams will sometimes be filled with fears and tears. He knows that we are but dust. He understands. This is so very difficult for me to believe, but it's true.

A God who understands is who I am seeking. Even when I run away, I want a God who sees my weakness and pursues. I love the truth put forth in Tim Keller's book "The Prodigal God." We serve a God who dives deep into our humanity, who was tempted in every way, who knows our mess, who is all-too familiar with our sin, and who loves passionately, recklessly, and in an extremely costly fashion. He is the older brother and Father we have always been looking for.

His life is our life. His hope for us is Him.

On gray days, when I can't see the sun for the fog and clouds, I have this as a sure anchor for my soul: That God became like me, little old Philip, walked in my shoes and spared no expense in expressing his love for the broken like me.

His resurrected life is my life now. Even in the middle of my depression. My depression is not my real reality, my real reality is that I'm hurting but my God is healing, resurrecting and making me whole in Him. To say that I'm not hurting is denial, and to say that God is not working is denial.

Tell someone this who's feeling depressed or that God uses all things for our good and you're likely to walk away with a black eye. But tell them that God really feels their pain and never, ever, ever leaves his beloved children and walks closer to them than they'll ever believe, even when we don't feel him anywhere, and I believe you're not only telling them the truth but feeding their soul with a proverbial "good word."

We serve a God we can be angry at. We serve a God who holds us as we beat our fists on him.

God will never forsake his own, even on gray mornings. Plus, I serve a God who has shown me that coffee helps!


Ron Lowe said...

NPR provides me plentiful opportunities for laughter throughout the day. It's because they're always trying to make their viewpoint sound intelligent and coherent. I've found that once I get past their predictable biases and the fact that there's no way in hell they could defend their viewpoints in a neutral forum, I can actually learn some cool stuff. The only time it gets to be more than I can stomach is when they try their hand at irony or pretend that they have a sense of humor. "Fresh Air" is especially annoying. They also say "not so much" too much.

WUTC was my work study job in college. They've come a long way and it's still #1 on my dial.

Ron Lowe said...

The stranger comments reminded me of the title song (though not the best one) from Billy Joel's best album, The Stranger.

... You may never understand
How the stranger is inspired
But he isn't always evil
And he is not always wrong
Though you drown in good intentions,
You will never quench the fire
You'll give in to your desire
When the stranger comes along.

I don't know what he means. He probably doesn't either, but I think I hear a little Qoheleth in there.

Philip said...

My favorite on NPR has to be Prarie Home Companion. Garrison is so interesting and fun. I think I like the lyric you included though I have know idea what it means. This sentance I just wrote, reminds me of a quote I heard in college from a Covenant student about the movie "Fight Club": "Damn, that was one awesome movie. I have know idea what it was about, but it was one hell of a movie." I suspect he just wanted to say "damn" and "hell" :).